Alluring Indulgence, 8
Released May 11, 2015
From New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Nicole Edwards comes the final scorching installment in her Alluring Indulgence series, erotic romances featuring the Texan Walker brothers and their sizzling-hot love interests.
Brendon Walker’s life was altered drastically when his twin brother fell in love. Coming to grips with his new reality hasn’t been an easy road, and he fears he’s all but given up.
Cheyenne Montgomery is familiar with the spotlight, and she’s familiar with fame. What she isn’t familiar with is the incredible lure of the sexy Walker brother who makes her heart beat wildly. Seeing him spiral out of control has been tough on her. So what will it take for Cheyenne to convince him that change can be a good thing?
Seven Years Ago
Cheyenne Montgomery was nervous. As much as, if not more than, the last time she’d played in a small backwoods redneck bar, just a couple of months earlier. At eighteen, barely six months out of high school, it wasn’t easy for her to get onto the stage, something she’d learned through a lot of hard work and repeated rejection at an early age. In fact, it was usually downright impossible. But the rather unruly owner of this little hole in the wall had been willing to give her a chance and here she was.
“Hey, y’all. My name’s . . . uh . . . Cheyenne. Cheyenne Montgomery. Thanks for . . . um . . . thanks for having me.”
“Come on, sweet cheeks. Get on with it!” someone hollered from the crowd.
Nodding, Cheyenne swallowed hard. After making her introduction to the crowd, albeit timidly, Cheyenne launched right into her first song. She’d taken to playing covers of incredible artists like Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, and even Reba McEntire. Not because people had told her that she sounded like them, but because they were her favorites. The band accompanying her—the only people who’d been half-ass nice to her since she arrived—was brilliant and she was grateful to them for agreeing to back her up tonight. She was doing this for free, which meant they were, too. Well, technically, she guessed they were all doing it for their joint love of music.
When she finished her first song, Cheyenne glanced out at the scattered faces in front of her, forcing her smile to stay on her lips. Her hands were shaking and she was sure if anyone in the threadbare crowd looked close enough, they’d notice. Not that she had to worry about that. No one seemed to be paying her much attention, which wasn’t all that surprising. At the little dives like this one, she didn’t generally see much interest in what she did. Well, except for one drunk old guy . . .
“Hey, honey! When you’re done up there, why don’t you come sit on my lap?”
Cheyenne ignored the man. He’d been yelling obscene suggestions at her since the second she came up onstage. During one of her songs, he’d even been taunting her. It didn’t look as though he intended to stop any time in the near future, either.
Jumping right into the next song in her set, Cheyenne gave her all, blocking out everyone and everything around her, falling right into the music. The two spotlights, awkwardly aimed at her head, made it nearly impossible to see the faces of the people in the bar, which allowed her more opportunity to get lost in her own little world for a while. So, that was exactly what she did.
After the fifth song, Cheyenne and the band took a quick break. She wasn’t allowed to go to the bar, so she graciously accepted a bottle of water when the drummer—she wasn’t sure what his name was and she was too nervous to ask—brought it to her. After downing it all, she waited for the band to return.
Ten minutes had passed and she’d had to endure the intoxicated man—the one she’d dubbed Loud Mouth—who continued to holler at her. Cheyenne noticed that he’d gotten louder as the minutes ticked by, probably due to the alcohol he was consuming. His words didn’t bother her, and he definitely wasn’t trying to be polite, but she was pretty sure he was beginning to irritate those around him.
“You ready to go, girl?” the drummer asked when he returned. “Absolutely,” she lied.
For a minute, she’d considered running out the back door and hopping into her little piece of shit car and going home. Only, home was an empty apartment that had little to no furniture in it. She was the epitome of a starving artist, just like so many musicians when they first started out. Her tiny apartment consisted of a bed—where she slept—and a ratty, secondhand couch—where she did everything else, including eat. Not that she needed much more than that. She wasn’t home much as it was.
“What’re you gonna play?” the guitarist—she remembered he’d said his name was Joe—questioned, and Cheyenne turned back to him and smiled.
With the help of a friend of hers, she’d written a song and hadn’t yet sung it in public, but tonight seemed as good as any to give it a go, so she whispered her intentions to Joe. She’d provided them with a copy of the music when she had arrived, so they were familiar with her request. When he informed the others and they gave her a thumbs-up, Cheyenne swallowed hard.
Turning back to the crowd, Cheyenne introduced her song. “This is just somethin’ I came up with one night. I hope you like it.”
Although the lights were still pointed at her, Cheyenne could tell that when she launched into her own song, heads started to turn. She knew it was good, but most importantly, the song was written specifically for her. It reflected the heartbreak that had been her life and she knew there were others who could relate. Three minutes later, Cheyenne brought the song to a close and grinned when a few people even applauded.
“Good job, little girl. Now come on down here and show me what you’re really good at,” Loud Mouth yelled.
The dark, rich tone that rang out caused the entire bar to go silent, all eyes turning to the tall guy approaching Loud Mouth. Cheyenne couldn’t see much of the mystery man’s face, but she could tell he was big. No, maybe gigantic would be a better word. He towered over everyone around him by several inches. Perhaps a foot.
“What’re you gonna do about it? Huh? Does her pussy belong to you? If not, I suggest you stay out of it,” the drunk guy snarled. “If I hear one more disrespectful word out of your nasty mouth, I’m gonna make sure you don’t speak for the rest of the night,” the other man growled.
“That so? I’d like to see you try.”
The next thing Cheyenne knew, the room erupted in chaos.
The drummer made his way out from behind his drum set and gripped her arm tightly, yanking her back with him. Without arguing, she managed to hide behind the instruments while the brawl went on in front of her. She couldn’t believe this was happening. They’d never let her back in here now.
She had no idea how long the fight lasted, but the cops eventually arrived to break things up and the bar owner opted to close down early. The damage was extensive, chairs and tables broken, glass bottles shattered and strewn across the floor, alcohol in puddles throughout, glistening in the overhead lights that had been turned on.
Cheyenne waited for the band to pack up their things before she ventured out with them, not wanting to run into the drunk guy if he happened to still be lurking in the parking lot.
The band had gone their separate way and Cheyenne was beating feet to her car when someone said, “You okay?”
The voice sounded familiar and when Cheyenne lifted her gaze from the ground and looked up—way, way up—into the face of the man now standing almost directly in front of her, she realized he was the one who’d been towering over the rest of the crowd, the same one who’d addressed Loud Mouth for saying crude things.
“I’m all right,” she muttered. Good grief, how freaking tall is he? “Thank you, by the way.”
“I’m not sure why you’re thankin’ me,” he answered humbly. “You’re leavin’ because of me.”
“Yeah, well, that’s the way these things go sometimes,” she responded politely, although in all the months she’d been doing this, never had a fight broken out before tonight.
“Name’s Travis Walker.”
Cheyenne shook the big guy’s hand when he extended it and watched as hers disappeared almost entirely in his palm. The man was massive. Granted, she was on the small side, topping out at a full 5’1”, but still. He made her feel like a child.
“Nice to meet you, Travis Walker. I’m Cheyenne Montgomery.”
He nodded, but she didn’t think he was really listening to her. “I’d like you to meet someone. Don’t go anywhere.”
Cheyenne glanced around, hoping the drunk old guy from inside had been carted off by the police, because now that she was standing alone in the parking lot while Travis ambled over to a group of people loitering near the door, she suddenly didn’t want to be there.
Luckily for her, Travis returned quickly, another man at his side, this one not nearly as tall or as broad.
“Cheyenne Montgomery, I’d like you to meet Clayton Crosby.”
“Nice to meet you,” Cheyenne said, shaking the proffered hand. She wasn’t sure why Travis wanted her to meet this guy, but she tried to appear happy to be introduced. In actuality, she just wanted to get to her car so she could go home.
The guy laughed, glancing between her and Travis. “What’s so funny?” she asked, confused.
“He didn’t tell you who I was, did he?”
“No, sir,” she told him quickly.
“Figures. Travis here ain’t much on talkin’,” Clayton said with a grin that made his rough features soften somewhat. “I’m a record producer.”
It took her a moment to process what he was telling her and then all of a sudden it sank in. Not wanting to get her hopes up too quickly, Cheyenne didn’t say a word as she ignored the anxious flutter in her belly. Hell, she wasn’t sure she could make her voice work if she had to.
Clayton laughed again. “We’re probably gonna have to work on gettin’ you to talk a little more.”
“Question for you. That song . . . the last one you sang. You write that?”
“Yes, sir,” she said hurriedly.
He smiled again and Cheyenne’s chest loosened.
“Good. Looks like we’ve got more than just a beautiful face and an incredible voice to work with.”
“Work with?” she asked.
“You interested in doin’ this gig full-time? Maybe in front of some bigger audiences? Somethin’ with fewer fists bein’ thrown?”
“Good. Then I think we might become good friends.” Cheyenne didn’t know exactly what that meant, but she had an idea.
Glancing over at Travis, she noticed he was watching the two of them as they talked. His expression was blank and she wondered whether that was the way he looked all the time.
“I’d like that,” Cheyenne finally forced herself to say, turning her attention back to Clayton. “I’d like to be friends.”
“I think we both have this guy to thank for our new friendship, then,” Clayton said as he clapped Travis on the back. “Guy always has had a knack for bein’ in the right place at the right time.”
Travis grumbled something that sounded like, “I wouldn’t go that far.”
Cheyenne wouldn’t argue with Clayton in that regard. Come to think of it, she wouldn’t argue with him period.
A total stranger had just turned her world completely upside down. And oddly enough, that was after he’d come to her rescue. If this happened to be her big break, she wasn’t sure whether or not she’d ever be able to repay Travis Walker, but Cheyenne vowed right then and there that she’d do her damnedest. If things went the way she hoped, she would truly be indebted to him for the rest of her life.
And she didn’t mind that one single bit.
Publication Date: May 11, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Cover Design : Simon & Schuster
Cover Image Copyright © Simon & Schuster